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St Oswald's

The parish church of Bollington

Bollington Road, Bollington Cross, SK10 5EG
07895 363 038

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Sing-Along Hymns

Popular songs from the 1930s

"I still remember her song. I hear her singing when lights are low, though she’s been silent so long." This seemd an appropriate sentiment for a parish church during lockdown, which is why The Voice in the Old Village Choir was included in our collection of Sing-along Hymns. It was originally published in 1932.

My Dad bought the songsheet for sixpence in old money.

- - -

Another sentimental ballad from 1930 is The hymn that I sang as a boy. Organ music is heard, but it seems there is no singing...

This song appeared in Feldman’s 39th Song and Dance Album, which my Dad seems to have purchased on 10 September 1934. It cost one shilling and included 20 other songs including Home on the Range and Chinese Laundry Blues.

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The Voice in the Old Village Choir

Words by Gus Kahn (1886-1941), one of the most successful and prolific lyricists of the period; he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. Music by Harry Woods (1896-1970). He started writing songs after being drafted into the US Army in WW1. After the war he made song-writing his career. He wrote both words and music for When the red, red robin…, Side by Side and many other songs.

(There’s an eight bar orchestral intro)

Memories are treasures locked in my heart
I mean to keep evermore.
Of all my treasures one stands apart,
saved from the dear days of yore...

I hear a voice so sweet and low,
the voice in the old village choir.
It speaks to me of long ago –
the voice in the old village choir.
In dreams I drift through the twilight haze
home to the scenes of my childhood days,
to hear again when lights are low,
the voice in the old village choir.

I hear her singing long, long ago,
I still remember her song.
I hear her singing when lights are low,
though she’s been silent so long...

I hear a voice so sweet and low,
the voice in the old village choir.
It speaks to me of long ago –
the voice in the old village choir.
In dreams I drift through the twilight haze
home to the scenes of my childhood days,
to hear again when lights are low,
the voice in the old village choir.

I hear a voice so sweet and low,
the voice in the old village choir.
It speaks to me of long ago –
the voice in the old village choir.
In dreams I drift through the twilight haze
home to the scenes of my childhood days,
to hear again when lights are low,
the voice in the old village choir.

The voice in the old village choir

The Hymn That I Sang As A Boy

This song was written about 1930 by Sonny Miller, with music by John Burnaby. It was recorded by Graham Payn as a boy soprano about 1931, shortly before his voice broke, and you can find recordings on YouTube. Graham Payn went on to become Noel Coward’s partner. He played Coward’s obsequious assistant in the film The Italian Job. He died 4 November 2005 at the age of 87.

(There’s an eight bar orchestral intro)

I heard an organ playing
in the church upon the hill
With head bowed down I listened,
for a moment my heart stood still...

Through that open church window I heard a refrain
‘Twas the hymn that I sang as a boy.
And that melody took me to childhood again,
With the hymn that I sang as a boy.
Mother’s heart would rejoice at the sound of my voice
As I watched her face glowing with joy.
I can see her again when I hear that refrain,
Just the hymn that I sang as a boy.

The golden sun was setting
as I shed a silent tear
In memory I lingered,
with the one that I held so dear...

Through that open church window I heard a refrain
‘Twas the hymn that I sang as a boy.
And that melody took me to childhood again,
With the hymn that I sang as a boy.
Mother’s heart would rejoice at the sound of my voice
As I watched her face glowing with joy.
I can see her again when I hear that refrain,
Just the hymn that I sang as a boy.

Through that open church window I heard a refrain
‘Twas the hymn that I sang as a boy.
And that melody took me to childhood again,
With the hymn that I sang as a boy.
Mother’s heart would rejoice at the sound of my voice
As I watched her face glowing with joy.
I can see her again when I hear that refrain,
Just the hymn that I sang as a boy.

The Hymn That I Sang As A Boy

For each hymn we have provided a set of verses together with an electronically generated sound-track. The sound track does not provide any words - just the tune.

The selection of hymns to be included was subject to certain limitations, notably the restrictions of copyright. This meant that many modern hymns were excluded, and the exclusion even applied to some updated versions of traditional hymns. Some publishers have made a few minor changes to make hymns more "inclusive" and have then claimed copyright over the revised text. So in most cases the ORIGINAL texts have been used, even though these may not be the versions that appear in modern hymnals.

In deciding what tunes to be used, this has largely been the Webmaster's personal choice. It is a mixture of familiar tunes and tunes that are not well-known, but deserve to be better known. The webmaster has included some personal favourites (and excluded some pet hates!). The soundtracks provided go with the words provided - if there are four verses, the tune is repeated four times. Where possible tunes have been provided with descants or alternative arrangements.

Wherever possible, there is an explanation of who wrote the words or tunes, the circumstances under which they were written, when (and sometimes why). Many hymns include references to verses appearing in the King James Version of the Bible; more modern translations were not then available! In some cases we have tried to explain these scriptural references or other instances where words have changed their meaning over time.

This selection of "Sing-along Songs of Praise" was originally a series of blog posts written during the COVID Lockdowns of 2020. It was intended to allow people to sing hymns in the safety and privacy of their own homes at a time when hymn-singing in church was not allowed (even if the church building was open!).

When hymns are sung as part of a church service, it is normally the case that the hymn books are set aside at the end of the hymn and the next part of the service continues. There is no time to sit and reflect on the meaning or the beauty of words and/or music. This collection allows you to take your time, to read, listen sing along, reflect, and to repeat a hymn again if you wish.

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Last modified: 25 March 2021